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OUTRAGEOUS Facebook Ban Targets Trump

NEW: Iowa Gov’t Officials Coordinated with Big Tech to Censor Judicial Watch Election Posts
Judicial Watch Sues over Abuse of Children Tied to Biden Border Crisis
Facebook’s Brazen Ban of President Trump Should Concern Every American
Judicial Watch Reveals CENSORED History of 2020 Election
Judicial Watch Sues for Records of Biden Dogs after Biting Incidents

NEW: Iowa Gov’t Officials Coordinated with Big Tech to Censor Judicial Watch Election Posts

Last week we released records from the Secretary of State of California revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor election posts. Included were “misinformation briefing” emails compiled by communications firm SKDK, which lists Biden for President as its top client of 2020. 

The state agency successfully pressured YouTube to censor a Judicial Watch video concerning vote by mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement about California voter roll clean up.

It turns out that California wasn’t the only state acting in seeming violation of the First Amendment. The new information from Iowa revealed below exposes the dirty details of the expanding conspiracy against free expression.

We received 624 pages of records from the Secretary of State of Iowa showing how state officials pressured social media companies Twitter and Facebook to censor posts about the 2020 election. 

Included in these records were emails from Iowa state officials to representatives of Big Tech pressuring these companies to remove some of Judicial Watch’s posts. The emails show how the state agency successfully pressured Facebook to censor our post about Iowa’s management of its voter rolls.

We received the records as a result of a June 2020 Iowa Open Records lawsuit filed after the Iowa Secretary of State failed to comply with our February 2020 request for records and communications about a Judicial Watch report regarding the accuracy of the state’s voter registration rolls (Judicial Watch v. Iowa Secretary of State (No. 05771 EQCE085973)). We were represented by Iowa lawyer Alan R. Ostergren of Des Moines, Iowa.

The records show that officials in the Secretary of State’s office on multiple occasions contacted officials from Facebook and Twitter to try to have these companies remove Judicial Watch posts that raised concerns about Iowa’s failure to maintain accurate election rolls.

On February 3, 2020, at 5:19 p.m., Kevin Hall, the communications director for the Iowa Secretary of State, wrote in a February 3, 2020, email to Facebook official Rachel Holland:

Rachel,

We’ve been playing whack-a-mole with this false story all day. Is there anything you can do to help: [likely https://www.facebook.com/JudicialWatch/posts/10157583458431943]

We’ve told them is fake. They have it PINNED to the top of their page.

Here’s our rebuttal: https://sos.iowa.gov/news/2020_02_02.html

Holland responded at 6:11p.m., writing:

Hi Kevin,

Circling back with an update regarding the content posted by Judicial Watch. Our third-party fact checkers have rated this content false, and we have applied a filter over the content warning users before they click to see it that the content has been rated false by independent fact checkers.

Please continue to report violating content to us by emailing [email protected], and copying me ([email protected]), as I will be on an airplane for the next couple hours. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any other matters.

A couple of hours later, Hall followed up, “Thank you! They have new posts up, doubling down on the false claims.”

And Holland responded, “Thanks for flagging- we’ve got a full team with eyes on this now and are applying the false filter to similar articles as well. I’ll send you an additional update shortly!”

That same day, Hall and Maria Benson, the director of communications at the National Association of Secretaries of State, both tried to convince Twitter to censor Judicial Watch’s posts but were ultimately unsuccessful.

Hall filed a report with Twitter, and Benson escalated it by looping in Kevin Kane from Twitter. On February 3, 2020, Benson wrote, “Iowa Secretary of State has reported the below election misinformation, but Twitter has declined to take it down. As you can see from the facts the tweets are clearly wrong. I wanted to bring this to your attention to hopefully remedy the situation. I’ve cc’d Kevin Hall, their Communicators Director.”

Kane responded rejecting the request saying, “Thanks Maria – This was reviewed by our team and is not in violation of our election integrity policy as it does not suppress voter turnout or mislead people about when. where. or how to vote. I understand this is not the outcome you are seeking and appreciate you continuing to report Tweets to our team.”

In an email the next day, Hall wrote to Kane saying, “Facebook, thankfully, was helpful. I would suggest perhaps reviewing your policies at Twitter and putting them more in line with what Facebook is doing to counter election misinformation.”

After being rejected by Twitter, Benson emailed Brian Scully, an official at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, writing on February 3, 2020:

Hey Brian,

Can you report this as well? Hannity is now retweeting and Twitter isn’t playing ball with us. I’ve cc’d Kevin Hall who you met Saturday. He’s IA SOS’s Communications Director. He’s been reporting and playing wack a mole by trying to reply to misleading tweets.

Scully responded promising to contact Twitter. “Sorry … been out of pocket a bit. Will reach out to Twitter. Let me know if you get something.”

These records are yet another example of state officials conspiring with Big Tech to deny Americans their First Amendment rights. These records further show that Big Tech censorship is a government scandal: Iowa government officials worked with Facebook to remove posts they did not like, and Facebook bowed to this political pressure immediately. It should be disturbing to all Americans that government officials are working to censor speech they disagree with and that these behemoth companies often seem willing to roll over and censor free speech.

Judicial Watch Sues over Abuse of Children Tied to Biden Border Crisis

Little children are in trouble on the border. Texas welfare officials received three reports of abuse and neglect at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, where more than 1,300 migrant children reportedly had been held. The site is one of several set up to handle the recent surge. This came on the heels of claims that multiple facilities where children are being held are unsafe.

To dig into this, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit against the Department of Health and Human Services for records about assaults on and abuse of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in HHS custody (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:21-cv-01190)).

We sued after the HHS denied our February 26, 2021, FOIA request for:

  1. All summaries from individual case files of reports of physical and/or sexual abuse or assault of Unaccompanied Alien Children under the care of HHS, its sub-agencies, and or volunteer agencies, contractors, grantees, and sub-grantees, to include all segregable, non-exempt information.
  2. Records reflecting aggregated data of physical and/or sexual abuse and assault of UACs under the care of HHS, its sub-agencies, and or volunteer agencies, contractors, grantees, and sub-grantees.

We are concerned that the surge of migrants seeking to take advantage of the Biden administration’s lax immigration policies has resulted in the foreseeable abuse of children, as overwhelmed federal authorities are ill-equipped to handle the huge number of children crossing the border. The unprecedented secrecy and censorship surrounding these sites compounds the problem and limits accountability. Our lawsuit aims to expose the full truth about this particularly troubling consequence of the Biden administration’s lawlessness on immigration.

This is not a new problem. We uncovered HHS records in July 2018 revealing that in multiple cases, unaccompanied alien children (UACs) processed during the Obama administration were assaulted by government employees.

We began investigating this matter in 2014 when a wave of UACs swamped the southwest border. Since that time, we have been investigating incidents of violence, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and other criminal activities, as well as whether migrant children were being abused while in U.S. shelters.

Facebook’s Brazen Ban of President Trump Should Concern Every American

The Facebook Oversight Board’s decision upholding President Trump’s Facebook ban undermines the First Amendment and free speech. The brazen ban of President Trump is already chilling the speech of other Facebook users and Internet users generally, who fairly worry about Facebook and Big Tech censoring and deplatforming them.

I have been personally locked out of Twitter for four months over a tweet previously found not to be in violation of Twitter’s rules.

Judicial Watch previously argued that Facebook’s Oversight Board should have reversed the president’s ban because the ban is an affront to First Amendment protections of free speech, peaceable assembly, and the right to petition the government. There is no credible evidence that President Trump either morally or legally incited violence. He was resoundingly acquitted by the United States Senate after the impeachment “prosecutors” failed to produce credible evidence he incited violence. For Facebook and its Oversight Board to suggest President Trump incited violence and that complaints about the administration of an election could incite violence is a political position aligned with the Left and political opponents of President Trump and his supporters.

 

Judicial Watch Reveals CENSORED History of 2020 Election

We continue to investigate the serious questions concerning the 2020 election. Our chief investigative reporter, Micah Morrison, summarizes our efforts in his Investigative Bulletin:

Judicial Watch has uncovered critical new details in the secret history of the 2020 election: how state government officials—at times interfacing with the Biden presidential campaign—colluded with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to censor freedom of speech.

The new information raises enormous constitutional and legal questions. It challenges the conventional wisdom that the companies are operating solely as private actors and can remove or ban users of their services as they see fit, with no violation of First Amendment rights.

The new documents “suggest a conspiracy against the First Amendment rights of Americans,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents blow up the big lie that Big Tech censorship is ‘private’—as the documents show collusion between a whole group of government officials in multiple states to suppress speech about election controversies.”

In California, we obtained more than 500 pages of documents showing how a state agency, the Office of Election Cybersecurity, tracked social media commentary and pushed Big Tech to take down posts. Included in the documents were so-called

“Misinformation Daily Briefings” from the communications firm SKDK. The firm also was deeply involved in the Biden presidential campaign, developing its mail-in voting program for four key electoral states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

For Big Tech and state officials, questioning the wisdom of mail-in voting was not allowed. On September 11, 2020, when JW’s Tom Fitton made the common-sense observation on Twitter that “mailing 51 million ballots to those who haven’t asked for increases risk of voter fraud and intimidation,” SKDK put him in its “misinformation brief” to California election security officials.

(In January, Twitter suspended Tom for tweeting another common-sense observation—“hydroxychloroquine is a safe drug”—a comment he had several times earlier made on Twitter and which the tech giant earlier had found not to be in violation of its rules. Read more on the incident here.)

California officials went after Tom again on September 24, falsely stating that he claimed in a YouTube video that Democrats would benefit from incorrect voter rolls and ballot collection. In the video, in fact, Tom was updating viewers about Judicial Watch’s highly successful, non-partisan lawsuit settlement with Los Angeles County to clean up voter rolls. Judicial Watch is a national leader in a non-partisan effort to clean up voter rolls.

California officials directly contacted YouTube complaining about the Judicial Watch video. Three days later, the video was deleted from YouTube.

In Iowa, Judicial Watch obtained 624 pages of records revealing how state officials pressured Twitter and Facebook to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in the records were emails pressing the companies to remove Judicial Watch posts.

The emails show how the state agency successfully worked with Facebook to censor a Judicial Watch post about Iowa’s management of its voter rolls:

An Iowa state official emailed Facebook official Rachel Holland complaining that a Judicial Watch story on Iowa’s management of voter rolls was “false.” (It wasn’t.) The time stamp on the email is 5:19 p.m.

By 6:11 p.m., Facebook hit back. Facebook factcheckers “have rated this content false,” Holland wrote the Iowa official, “and we have applied a filter over this content warning users.”

Read more on Judicial Watch’s Iowa case here.

Read more on the California case here.

Of course it’s not just Judicial Watch in the crosshairs of companies like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. On Wednesday, Facebook moved to continue its ban on Donald Trump, now a private citizen. Judicial Watch has argued that the ban is an affront to First Amendment protections of free speech, peaceable assembly, and the right to petition the government.

It’s also an ominous sign that Big Tech censorship is growing—and growing bolder. “If they can ban President Trump,” warned House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “all conservative voices could be next.”

 


Judicial Watch Sues for Records of Biden Dogs after Biting Incidents

 

On March 9, 2021, the White House confirmed that President Biden’s dog Major, an adopted German Shepherd, “did in fact bite someone at the White House, causing a “minor injury.” Press secretary Jen Psaki said the dogs, “are still getting acclimated and accustomed to their new surroundings and new people.”

On March 30, 2021, the White House reported that, “President Biden’s dog Major on Monday afternoon bit another employee, who then required medical attention.” The encounter reportedly took place on the White House South Lawn Monday, March 29.

Americans are understandably curious, and we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit against the Department of Homeland Security for communication between Secret Service officials assigned to the White House regarding the Biden family dogs (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:21-cv-01194)).

We sued after the Secret Service failed to process records in a timely manner in response to a March 10, 2021, FOIA request seeking:

All records of communications between USSS officials responsible for protection at the White House regarding the Biden family dogs, named Champ and Major.

On April 12, 2021, the Secret Service replied to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request saying that they had identified responsive records which were being processed but have yet to produce them.

The public has a right to know the details about any incident in which Secret Service personnel were injured by President Biden’s dog. We have no doubt that Major and Champ are good dogs but politicians and bureaucrats can’t be trusted to tell us everything.

Until next week …

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Judicial Watch Sues for Records about Abuse of Children Tied to Biden Border Crisis

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for records about assaults on and abuse of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in HHS custody (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:21-cv-01190)).

The lawsuit was filed against Health and Human Services after the HHS denied a February 26, 2021 FOIA request for: 

  1. All summaries from individual case files of reports of physical and/or sexual abuse or assault of Unaccompanied Alien Children under the care of HHS, its sub-agencies, and or volunteer agencies, contractors, grantees, and sub-grantees, to include all segregable, non-exempt information.
  2. Records reflecting aggregated data of physical and/or sexual abuse and assault of UACs under the care of HHS, its sub-agencies, and or volunteer agencies, contractors, grantees, and sub-grantees.

Texas welfare officials received three reports of abuse and neglect at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, where more than 1,300 migrant children reportedly had been held. The site is one of several set up to handle the recent surge. 

This report came on the heels of claims that multiple facilities where children are being held are unsafe.

“We are concerned that the surge of migrants seeking to take advantage of the Biden’s administration lax immigration policies has resulted in the foreseeable abuse of children, as overwhelmed federal authorities are ill-equipped to handle the huge number of children crossing the border. The unprecedented secrecy and censorship surrounding these sites compounds the problem and limits accountability,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Our lawsuit aims to expose the full truth about this particularly troubling consequence of the Biden administration’s lawlessness on immigration.”

Judicial Watch uncovered HHS records in July 2018 revealing that in multiple cases, UACs processed during the Obama administration were assaulted by government employees.   

Judicial Watch began investigating this matter in 2014 when a wave of UACs swamped the southwest border. Since that time, Judicial Watch has been investigating incidents of violence, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and other criminal activities, as well as whether migrant children were being abused while in U.S. shelters.

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Judicial Watch Statement on Facebook Oversight Board’s Decision to Support the Censorship of President Donald Trump

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response to the decision of Facebook’s Oversight Board to uphold President Trump’s Facebook censorship:

Today’s Facebook Oversight Board decision upholding President Trump’s Facebook ban undermines the First Amendment and free speech. The brazen deplatforming of President Trump is already chilling the speech of other Facebook users and Internet users generally, who fairly worry about Facebook and Big Tech censoring and deplatforming them.

It is notable that Facebook refused to disclose to its designated Oversight Board whether the Trump ban resulted from collusion with other government officials and politicians. Indeed, Judicial Watch recently uncovered that state government officials in California and Iowa successfully pressured Facebook, Youtube/Google, and Twitter to censor election social media posts by Judicial Watch and other citizens. (I have been locked out of Twitter for four months over a tweet previously found not to be in violation of Twitter’s rules.)

Judicial Watch had argued that Facebook’s Oversight Board should have reversed the president’s ban because the ban is an affront to First Amendment protections of free speech, peaceable assembly, and the right to petition the government. There is no credible evidence that President Trump either morally or legally incited violence. He was resoundingly acquitted by the United States Senate after the impeachment “prosecutors” failed to produce credible evidence he incited violence. For Facebook and its Oversight Board to suggest President Trump incited violence and that complaints about the administration of an election could incite violence is a political position aligned with the Left and political opponents of President Trump and his supporters.

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Judicial Watch Sues to Learn More About Biting Episode Involving a Biden Dog

Judicial Watch, the conservative activist group that says its mission is to file lawsuits to expose government misconduct, has trained its sights on an unexpected target: the Biden family dogs.

The group announced Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security in an attempt to secure records related to a biting episode involving Major, the younger of the first family’s two German shepherds, and a Secret Service agent on the White House grounds.

It is one of two biting incidents, which White House officials say resulted in only minor injuries, that prompted the Bidens to send Major to a trainer for a few weeks.

Judicial Watch said it filed the lawsuit because the Secret Service has been slow to process a Freedom of Information Act request seeking “all records of communications between USSS officials responsible for protection at the White House regarding the Biden family dogs, named Champ and Major.”

“The public has a right to know the details about any incident in which Secret Service personnel were injured by President Biden’s dog,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “We have no doubt that Major and Champ are good dogs but politicians and bureaucrats can’t be trusted.”

Read More Here.

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Majorgate: Watchdog Sues Secret Service For Information on Biden Dog Biting

From The Washington Examiner:

In an investigation fit for “McGruff the Crime Dog,” a fiscal watchdog group has sued for details on the two biting incidents by President Joe Biden’s dog Major.

In its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Judicial Watch said it is seeking from the Department of Homeland Security “records of communication between Secret Service officials assigned to the White House regarding the Biden family dogs.”

While Major has been labeled as the biter in two cases, Judicial Watch also wants communications mentioning the second Biden German shepherd, Champ.

Twice in March, the White House said Major bit people. In the first, it caused a “minor injury” to a member of the Secret Service, and the second required “medical attention” for a Park Service official.

The media reported that after the first incident, Major was sent to obedience school. It is unclear if he was otherwise punished.

“The public has a right to know the details about any incident in which Secret Service personnel were injured by President Biden’s dog,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “We have no doubt that Major and Champ are good dogs, but politicians and bureaucrats can’t be trusted.”

Read More Here.

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Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit against Secret Service for Records of Biden White House Dogs after Biting Incidents

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the United States Department of Homeland Security for records of communication between Secret Service officials assigned to the White House regarding the Biden family dogs (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:21-cv-01194)).

The lawsuit was filed after the Secret Service failed to process records in a timely manner in response to a March 10, 2021, FOIA request seeking:

All records of communications between USSS officials responsible for protection at the White House regarding the Biden family dogs, named Champ and Major.

On April 12, 2021, the Secret Service replied to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request saying that they had identified responsive records which were being processed but have yet to produce them.

On March 9, 2021, the White House confirmed that President Biden’s dog Major, “did in fact bite someone at the White House, causing a “minor injury.” Press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed said that the dogs, “are still getting acclimated and accustomed to their new surroundings and new people.”

On March 30, 2021, the White House reported that, “President Biden’s dog Major on Monday afternoon bit another employee, who then required medical attention.” The encounter reportedly took place on the White House South Lawn Monday, March 29.

“The public has a right to know the details about any incident in which Secret Service personnel were injured by President Biden’s dog,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We have no doubt that Major and Champ are good dogs but politicians and bureaucrats can’t be trusted.”

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CA Officials Request Big Tech Censorship

Judicial Watch obtained documents from the California Secretary of State’s office confirming that those public officials … pressured Big Tech to take down posts by Americans about the elections.

Many continue to argue that Big Tech corporations, as private companies, have a right to censor content on their platforms, but what if that decision were made by the government? As a bombshell Judicial Watch investigation reveals, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook were directly pressured by California state officials to remove election-related content posted by private individuals, including Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Content including a Judicial Watch video which discussed the watchdog’s successful L.A. County voter roll clean-up case was removed by YouTube at “the behest of government officials,” Fitton noted Friday. “They [California state officials] targeted me because they didn’t want any criticism … so we have a government official working with Big Tech to take down a critic of the government.”

The documents show that CA state officials also made false claims to support the removal of Judicial Watch. “I know what I can and can’t say,” Fitton continued. “I know when I have to be accurate, which is all the time when I’m making public statements.”

Fitton has described these activities as being a “violation of your Constitutional rights under the First Amendment … they knew what they were doing was a problem.”

If you’re concerned about the violation of your First Amendment rights online and elsewhere, support Judicial Watch today.

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Judicial Watch: Records Show Iowa State Officials Coordinated with Big Tech to Censor Election Posts

The records show communications between the Secretary of State’s office and representatives of Facebook and Twitter to Target Judicial Watch Posts.

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received 624 pages of records from the office of the Secretary of State of Iowa, revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter and Facebook) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these records were emails from Iowa state officials to representatives of Big Tech pressuring these companies to remove Judicial Watch’s posts. The emails show how the state agency successfully pressured Facebook to censor Judicial Watch’s post about Iowa’s management of its voter rolls.  

Judicial Watch received the records as a result of a June 2020 Iowa Open Records lawsuit that was filed after the Iowa Secretary of State failed to comply with a February 2020 request for records and communications about a Judicial Watch report regarding the accuracy of the state’s voter registration rolls (Judicial Watch v. Iowa Secretary of State (No. 05771 EQCE085973)). Judicial Watch was represented by Iowa lawyer Alan R. Ostergren of Des Moines, Iowa.

The records show that officials in the Iowa Secretary of State office on multiple occasions contacted officials from Facebook and Twitter to try to have these companies remove Judicial Watch posts that raised concerns about Iowa’s failure to maintain accurate election rolls.

On February 3, 2020, at 5:19 p.m., Kevin Hall, the communications director for the Iowa Secretary of State, wrote in a February 3, 2020, email to Facebook official Rachel Holland:

Rachel,

We’ve been playing whack-a-mole with this false story all day. Is there anything you can do to help: [likely https://www.facebook.com/JudicialWatch/posts/10157583458431943

We’ve told them is fake. They have it PINNED to the top of their page. 

Here’s our rebuttal: https://sos.iowa.gov/news/2020_02_02.html

Holland responded at 6:11p.m., writing:

Hi Kevin,

Circling back with an update regarding the content posted by Judicial Watch. Our third-party fact checkers have rated this content false, and we have applied a filter over the content warning users before they click to see it that the content has been rated false by independent fact checkers.

Please continue to report violating content to us by emailing [email protected], and copying me ([email protected]), as I will be on an airplane for the next couple hours. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any other matters. 

A couple of hours later, Hall followed up, “Thank you! They have new posts up, doubling down on the false claims.” 

And Holland responded, “Thanks for flagging- we’ve got a full team with eyes on this now and are applying the false filter to similar articles as well. I’ll send you an additional update shortly!” 

That same day, Hall and Maria Benson, the director of communications at the National Association of Secretaries of State, both tried to convince Twitter to censor Judicial Watch’s posts but were ultimately unsuccessful. 

Hall filed a report with Twitter, and Benson escalated it by looping in Kevin Kane from Twitter. On February 3, 2020, Benson wrote, “Iowa Secretary of State has reported the below election misinformation, but Twitter has declined to take it down. As you can see from facts the tweets are clearly wrong. I wanted to bring this to your attention to hopefully remedy the situation. I’ve cc’d Kevin Hall, their Communicators Director.”

Kane responded rejecting the request saying, “Thanks Maria – This was reviewed by our team and is not in violation of our election integrity policy as it does not suppress voter turnout or mislead people about when. where. or how to vote. I understand this is not the outcome you are seeking and appreciate you continuing to report Tweets to our team.”

In an email the next day, Hall wrote to Kane saying, “Facebook, thankfully, was helpful. I would suggest perhaps reviewing your policies at Twitter and putting them more in line with what Facebook is doing to counter election misinformation.” 

After being rejected by Twitter, Benson emailed Brian Scully, an official at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, writing on February 3, 2020: 

Hey Brian,

Can you report this as well? Hannity is now retweeting and Twitter isn’t playing ball with us. I’ve cc’d Kevin Hall who you met Saturday. He’s IA SOS’s Communications Director. He’s been reporting and playing wack a mole by trying to reply to misleading tweets.

Scully responded promising to contact Twitter. “Sorry … been out of pocket a bit. Will reach out to Twitter. Let me know if you get something.”

“These records are yet another example of state officials conspiring with Big Tech to deny Americans their First Amendment rights,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These records further show that Big Tech censorship is a government scandal: Iowa government officials worked with Facebook to remove posts they didn’t like, and Facebook bowed to this political pressure immediately. It should be disturbing to all Americans that government officials are working to censor speech they disagree with and that these behemoth companies often seem willing to roll over and censor free speech.”

Judicial Watch last week released records from the office of the Secretary of State of California revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these records were “misinformation briefings” emails that were compiled by communications firm SKDK, that lists Biden for President as their top client of 2020. The records show how the state agency successfully pressured YouTube to censor a Judicial Watch video concerning the vote by mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement about California voter roll clean up.

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SMOKING GUNS on Big Tech Censorship!

California Officials Pressured Big Tech to Censor Social Media Election Posts
Judicial Watch in Court to Stop a Maryland County from Giving Cash to Illegal Aliens
Judicial Watch Fights Hard Left ‘Critical Race Theory’

California Officials Pressured Big Tech to Censor Social Media Election Posts

We now have chilling details of California state officials and Big Tech executives conspiring to uproot the First Amendment and influence the 2020 election. And, key targets were Judicial Watch and me.

The proof is in 540 pages and a supplemental four pages of documents we received from the office of the Secretary of State of California revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these documents were “misinformation briefings” emails that were compiled by communications firm SKDK, which lists Biden for President as their top client of 2020. 

The documents show how the state agency successfully pressured YouTube to censor my Judicial Watch video concerning the vote by mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement about California voter roll clean up.

We received the records in response to our California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests to the Office of the California Secretary of State for records related to the Office of Election Cybersecurity’s database of social media posts; communications with social media companies; and other social media related records regarding the 2020 elections. We filed the requests after a December 2020 report surfaced that the state agency was surveilling, tracking, and seeking to censor the speech of Americans:

The Office of Election Cybersecurity in the California Secretary of State’s office monitored and tracked social media posts, decided if they were misinformation, stored the posts in an internal database coded by threat level, and on 31 different occasions requested posts be removed. In 24 cases, the social media companies agreed and either took down the posts or flagged them as misinformation, according to Jenna Dresner, senior public information officer for the Office of Election Cybersecurity.

“We don’t take down posts, that is not our role to play,” Dresner said. “We alert potential sources of misinformation to the social media companies and we let them make that call based on community standards they created.”  

On September 24, 2020, a California Secretary of State chart lists a video I did and falsely alleges:

Head of conservative group Judicial Watch Hosts video alleging Democrats benefit from incorrect voter rolls and ballot collection.

The Secretary of State’s office details its communication with YouTube: “We wanted to flag this YouTube video because it misleads community members about elections or other civic processes and misrepresents the safety and security of mail-in ballots.” The chart quotes me describing Judicial Watch’s statement about its federal lawsuit settlement with Los Angeles County that will require it to clean up voter rolls and how a Michigan court “changed the rules” on ballot deadlines and ballot harvesting. (The controversial decision was overturned in October 2020.)

The document shows that California state officials contacted YouTube directly to remove the video on September 24, 2020, and that YouTube seemed to respond by deleting the video on September 27, 2020.

On September 11, 2020, outside consultant Zeke Sandoval, of the SKDK communications firm, provides the Secretary of State’s Office a “Misinformation Daily Briefing,” which again targets me:

Trump tweeted, “The big Unsolicited Ballot States should give it up NOW, before it is too late, and ask people to go to the Polling Booths and, like always before, VOTE. Otherwise, MAYHEM!!! Solicited Ballots (absentee) are OK,” and Twitter was quick to fact check and shared a link with info about how voting by mail is safe and secureViral reply on Twitter from Tom Fitton asserting, “Mailing 51 million ballots to those who haven’t asked for increases risk of voter fraud and voter intimidation!”

A 30-page “Misinformation Tracking Sheet” lists social media posts that the office disagrees with and has asked social media companies to remove.

In an internal email on January 12, 2021, Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Communications Officer Paula Valle emails Chief Counsel Steve Reyes and Jenna Dresner in the Office of Cybersecurity, as well as Press Secretary Sam Mahood stating that she is uncomfortable with CalMatters reporter Fred Brewster’s questions about the office’s tracking and censoring efforts:

Hi Steve – Please see below – the reporter at Cal Matters who PRA’d us is doing a follow-up story. We asked him to send us his questions. I am not necessarily comfortable with his line of questions and the additional doors that this will open. I want to get your feedback I would simply like to give him a statement about what our goal is and leave it at that. Thoughts?

Brewster’s questions, which include concerns from citizens who were targeted by the “Misinformation Tracker,” were sent on January 12, 2021:

I reached out to the users on page 7 and page 21 of the Misinformation Tracker request I received. Both individuals wanted to know how their posts ended up being labeled misinformation and how, given their relatively small following, they came to the attention of the Office of Election Cybersecurity?

Another user named “DC O’Bryan” had his post taken down (page 5 of the Misinformation Tracker). In an email, you highlight a report sent to the state that says, “I don’t know if this is hot air meant to provoke. If it is, a call from an official might get the point across that you don’t joke about election fraud.” Was O’Bryan called to confirm that his post was a joke?

How does the Office of Election Cybersecurity differentiate between parody and satire and misinformation?

Did CISA, Facebook, or any other partners provide guidance on how to spot and define misinformation? If someone has their posts in the Misinformation Tracker, are there plans to contact those individuals and is there a way for them to petition the state to delete them?

The Secretary of State’s Office emails Facebook and Twitter on April 25, 2019, with requests from the Office to remove tweets and posts for what they have labeled “misinformation.”

The office emails Facebook, attempting to set up a call to discuss removing future posts. This 15-minute call is with “new Facebook contact for social media reporting: Javier Hernandez, Politics & Government Outreach” in order to discuss how the office will report posts to Facebook. In the email, Facebook outlines its goals to directly work with “electoral authorities in every state” so that they can “report instances of voter suppression on Facebook directly to our team, so [Facebook] can look at them quickly and remove them from the site.”

On December 31, 2019, after the Secretary of State’s office reports a tweet to [email protected], Kevin Kane, a Twitter representative, replies and offers his direct contact for the Office’s future needs in removing posts.  

In a September 21, 2020, email chain with the subject line “elections issue,” Jenna Dresner in the Secretary of State’s Office of Cybersecurity writes to “Cristina and team” at Facebook at 11:43 a.m.: “We want to flag this Instagram post.”

The reply comes from Facebook Community Operations: “Thank you for your report. We have reviewed the … content and can confirm that the content has been removed …” At 12:53 pm. Dresner writes to Press Secretary Sam Mahood, Social Media Coordinator Akilah Jones and others, “Post from this morning was removed (and fast!) Akilah we can update tracker.”

In an October 28, 2020, email, Jones writes to Flores at Facebook and CCs Dresner that a post, which was from a user named @Screenplaywale, “voters are being asked to gerrymander and voter suppress their ‘trump supporting father’s ballots.’”

In an email chain on September 14, 2020, titled “Election Issue” the office internally complains about how long it takes Facebook to remove a post and how to speed up this process.

Mahood writes to Dresner: “It looks like it took Facebook 2 weeks to respond to Chris. This is way too long, we should raise to FB and make sure we know best method to report posts.” Dresner responds: “Sure – I’m 98% sure this is the one you chased with an email directly to our FB contacts which resulted in it taken down that day. I can confirm that process works for the future?”

On August 22, 2019, Maria Benson, director of communications for the National Association of Secretaries of State emails the communications directors for Secretaries of State offices that Twitter confirmed that they streamlined their process for government officials to report “misinformation:”

Great news—Twitter is now on-boarding states into their mis/disinformation partner support portal! Once on-boarded, you will be able to directly report mis/disinformation instead of having to submit it to me first….” [Emphasis in original]

Benson also gives contact information for Facebook and Google complaints, and says: “If any of the items you reported do not get prompt attention, please let me know and I can also reach out the companies.”

On September 24, 2019, the California Secretary of State’s office confirms that it plans to participate in Facebook’s misinformation” training which is a review from Facebook on “monitoring guidelines for reporting misinformation” and teaches participants how to use the direct reporting channel Facebook opened for them.

On October 1, 2020, Benson forwards information from Twitter about their training to directly remove posts they label as misinformation to the Secretary of State’s office. This is described by Twitter as: “training on creative and effective content strategies on Twitter in advance of the U.S. Election,” as well as “onboarding state and local election officials onto Twitter’s Partner Support Portal.” This portal is described as, “a dedicated way for critical stakeholders – like you – to flag concerns directly to Twitter.”

These documents detail a conspiracy against the First Amendment rights of Americans by the California Secretary of State, the Biden campaign operation, and Big Tech. These documents blow up the big lie that Big Tech censorship is ‘private’ – as the documents show collusion between a whole group of government officials in multiple states to suppress speech about election controversies.

Judicial Watch in Court to Stop a Maryland County from Giving Cash to Illegal Aliens

On May 5, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear our lawsuit (Bauer, et al. v. Elrich, et al. (No. 20-1707)) challenging the legality of the Montgomery County, Maryland, program that provides cash payments to illegal aliens. 

We argue on behalf of Montgomery County taxpayers Sharon Bauer and Richard Jurgena that the county’s program providing $10 million in cash benefits to illegal aliens violates federal law and irreparably harms county taxpayers.

The Monday hearing will be at 9:30 a.m. ET and can be accessed here: https://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/cal/internetcalmay032021ric.pdf

This hearing arises from our complaint (Bauer et al. v. Elrich et al. (No. 482061V)) filed on May 8, 2020, in Montgomery County Circuit Court, which Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and Raymond Crowel, director of the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, subsequently removed to federal court. The lawsuit seeks to permanently enjoin Elrich and Crowel from expending taxpayer money on the cash-benefits program known as the “Emergency Assistance Relief Payment Program” (EARP).

Under federal law, certain categories of aliens, including illegal aliens, are ineligible for state or local public benefits. Such benefits include direct, cash payments. If a state chooses to provide such benefits to illegal aliens, it must enact a state law affirmatively providing for such eligibility.

On May 29, 2020, the District Court ruled the program likely violates federal law and irreparably harms county taxpayers. The court ordered the county to hold back 25% of any unspent funds until the court could fully consider the merits of our taxpayer lawsuit. Later, the District Court dismissed the case, concluding it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

The Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in the appeal we brought, in which the agency agrees the policy is illegal but suggests state taxpayers have no right to sue state officials to stop them from using taxpayer funds to violate federal law.

We explain in our appeal: “The issues before this Court concern what cases federal courts may hear, whether state causes of action may rely on violations of federal law, and whether county officials acted illegally.” Also, pointing to 8 U.S. Code § 1621:

In short, Section 1621 prohibits unlawfully present aliens from receiving state and local public benefits unless the state legislature affirmatively authorizes it.

Even though the Maryland legislature had not affirmatively authorized it, Montgomery County, Maryland, nonetheless, started providing cash payments to unlawfully present aliens. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montgomery County Council appropriated $10 million for an Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (“EARP”) program…. EARP provides cash payments to individuals or families, including unlawfully present aliens … who (1) live in Montgomery County, (2) are not eligible for federal COVID-19 stimulus checks or state benefits, (3) are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits, and (4) have an income equal to or below 50% of the federal poverty level…. The County Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”), which administers the program, distributes payments of $500 to eligible single adults, $1,000 to eligible families with a child, and an additional $150 to families for each additional child, up to $1,450 total….

Seeing their taxes being spent in violation of federal law, Sharon Bauer and Richard Jurgena (“Taxpayers”), Montgomery County taxpayers, sought to enjoin County Executive Marc Elrich and DHHS Director Raymond Crowel (collectively “Montgomery County”) from implementing EARP.

Politicians in Maryland are using COVID as an excuse to violate the law. If they want to give cash payments to illegal aliens, they must be accountable and transparent, and, as federal law requires, pass a state law to do so.

Judicial Watch Fights Hard Left Critical Race Theory’

If you’re a parent or grandparent you need to pay close attention to what’s being taught in schools and colleges, and if you’re a voter, keep an eye on your local and state governments. All are being overrun by a Marxist racist madness known as Critical Race Theory. Judicial Watch is fighting this tidal wave, as Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, describes in his Investigative Bulletin.

Not long ago, Critical Race Theory was the territory of far-left academics pushing the boundaries of Marxism and nihilistic counterparts such as radical feminism and post-structuralism. All the philosophies to one degree or another advanced the notion that objective truth and standards—in society, in institutions, in law—do not exist. All reality is contingent, all is in flux, all is a construct of language and illusion. One person’s truth is another person’s lies.

Critical Race Theory emerged from this philosophical train wreck in the 1980s to say that Western civilization—and the American experiment in particular—is suffused to its core by white supremacy, white privilege, and institutionalized racism, and must be dismantled. For a long time, CRT was dismissed as an esoteric academic fad. But ideas have consequences and today, in the mysterious alchemy of social upheaval, Critical Race Theory suddenly is everywhere, its poisonous agenda swiftly moving through universities and public schools, government, law, science, business, and the media.

Rooted in the Left doctrine of class struggle, CRT teaches that U.S. society—our culture, laws, beliefs, and modes of governance—are a racist system devoted to upholding the power of white people. CRT is closely linked the new cancel culture. Dissenters from this new orthodoxy are punished. Freedom of speech is dismissed, and open debate is canceled, as we’ll see below in the case of high school coach David Flynn.

The rhetoric of this radicalism is cloaked in the language of social justice, but if you “peel back the layers of ideology and you get to the core of this belief system,” notes writer Christopher Rufo, “they’re advocating for a kind of cultural revolution, steeped in Marxism, adjusted to identity politics, and now activated through Black Lives Matter, through Critical Race Theory, and absurdly through even corporate HR departments.” For more on CRT, see this Heritage Foundation special report.

Judicial Watch is fighting back. Three cases, in particular, illustrate the scope of the Critical Race problem. Tellingly, they all involve schools—a key battleground in this war of ideas.

In suburban Massachusetts, popular football coach David Flynn was abruptly fired from his job at Dedham High School after protesting unannounced changes to his daughter’s middle school curriculum.

Coach Flynn noticed that his seventh-grade daughter’s “World Geography and Ancient History” class was being taught things that had nothing to do with geography or history. The course description described the class as a review of the civilizations of Rome, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America.

Instead, as we note in our lawsuit defending Coach Flynn, the instruction focused on “issues of race, gender, stereotypes, prejudices, discrimination, and politics.” In other words, the Critical Race Theory agenda.

Coach Flynn sent a polite email to school authorities noting that parents had not been informed of the curriculum changes; that some of the issues were not suitable for seventh graders; that the teacher did not seem to be objective and was stating particular political points of view; and that the teacher was using class materials that labeled all police officers as risks to all black people, and all black males as risks to white people.

Coach Flynn asked school authorities for compromises and modest changes to the new curriculum. Their response? You’re fired.

Judicial Watch is suing school authorities in federal court for retaliating against the coach for exercising his First Amendment rights. We’ll be in court Monday, April 26, for a hearing on the case. The public is invited to attend. You can watch a JW video presentation on the case here.

One hour and a world away from Dedham, Harvard College faces a racial reckoning of its own. Bastions of higher education are the incubators of Critical Race Theory, but while accusing Americans of broad racist crimes, they’re often themselves promoting discriminatory policies. It’s no secret, for instance, that many universities have long been discriminating against Asians in admissions practices.

With our colleagues at the  Allied Educational Foundation, we filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Students for Fair Admission’s petition for a Supreme Court hearing challenging the decision by a federal appeals court upholding Harvard’s racial preferences admissions program.

Students for Fair Admission argue that Harvard’s admissions program intentionally discriminates against Asian Americans on the basis of race and violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which bans unconstitutional race-based admissions by public universities, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Our brief rejects the notion that discriminating by race in admissions can be justified by “diversity” goals. “College and university administrators might promote greater cross-racial understanding and tolerance in their students, not by racially discriminating against applicants for admission to their schools, but by working to make their schools more tolerant of the expression of different points of view,” we note. “Admissions programs that intentionally discriminate on the basis of race may themselves be negatively affecting the level of racial understanding and tolerance on today’s college campuses.”

In New York City, we are tracking a major lawsuit filed by race-theory radicals seeking “an anti-racist education.” The suit is straight from the Critical Race Theory playbook. It seeks major changes to the New York City public school system, which it claims is “suffused with and perpetuates…various forms of racism in ways blatant and subtle, intended or willfully ignored and tolerated.”  Racism in the lawsuit is defined to include “internalized racism,” “interpersonal racism,” “institutional racism,” and “structural racism.” Read the lawsuit here.

A successful lawsuit, The New York Times notes, could compel New York City “to restructure or even eliminate current admissions policies for hundreds of selective schools, including gifted and talented programs and academically selective middle and high schools,” and accelerate pressure for shifting student populations city wide in the name of “diversity” and “integration.”

Parents are fighting back. A new national grassroots organization, Parents Defending Education, has filed a motion to intervene in the New York City case. “PDE’s members, who are parents of children in the system, believe that their children should be judged based on their individual merit, not defined as members of a racial group or blamed for the collective sins of others,” PDE President Nicole Neily told Judicial Watch. “That’s why PDE opposes the call to inject more race-based decision-making into the City’s schools. The best way to achieve equality is to treat children equally, regardless of skin color, and to fix the parts of the City’s schools that are broken.” Read the PDE brief here.

Judicial Watch will be following these cases and other developments in the Critical Race Theory jihad in the months ahead. We’ll keep you posted.

Until next week …

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Judicial Watch’s Fitton on Durham Investigation: ‘I don’t know what we’re spending the money on’

From Just The News:

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Thursday morning that he’s no longer sure “what we’re spending the money on,” regarding the long-awaited report and potential prosecutions from Justice Department special counsel John Durham.

“It’s now been two-plus years, and we’ve had virtually zero activity from Durham as best as anyone can see,” Fitton during an appearance on “Just the News AM.”

Durham was appointed in 2019 by then-Attorney General William Barr to oversee a probe into how the federal investigation into alleged Russia-Trump campaign collusion started and to determine whether intelligence gathered about the 2016 presidential campaign was “lawful and appropriate.”

He was later elevated by Barr to the post of special counsel for the Justice Department.

Durham’s efforts follows Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that effectively debunked the narrative of collusion between the campaign and Russian operatives.

Late last month, Trump issued a brief statement inquiring after Durham’s whereabouts.

“Is he a living, breathing human being? Will there ever be a Durham report?” Trump asked in the statement.

Fitton said Thursday he’s not so concerned about just the report.

Read More Here.